Eddie went to work pruning the line of bushes that formed a barrier between Janet's… no, their yard… and the neighbors whose yard stood at the back end of the property line. He'd been meaning to do this chore for a while, but it was a big job, and he needed motivation. Working out his frustration with a pair of pruning shears, over what went down between him and Janet that morning, seemed as good a motivation as any.

Since he'd thrown on his old jeans and an old beat up sweatshirt and stormed out of the house, he'd been one busy guy. He had weeded the flower garden that he'd be putting fall flowers in this weekend, mowed the lawn and put down the first fall lawn treatment in preparation for the winter. The yard was looking as if belonged to a landscaper, even if it was a part time landscaper, and Eddie began to relax in his element – the outdoors.

He lost himself a bit in yard work, but he was frankly still a bit stunned, and even a little bit angry, over Janet's reaction to his question. It wasn't as if he had ever asked anyone to marry him before. Besides, there was that other little detail that Janet was having a baby. His baby. That was a shock to say the least. Not that it should be – they were, after all, in a happily committed relationship, and they certainly had more than their fair share of sex, but it still was a crazy surprise.

But she must have realized that he'd spent the better part of his adult life trying to make sure he didn't become a father, he thought, shouldn't she know him enough by now to realize that shifting gears on a topic like that one would be a big deal?

Yes, he decided, he was angry and he had every right to be. And when he was satisfied with the condition of that row of bushes, he decided it was time to get back into this conversation and let her know his side of the story. When he had finished cleaning up his lawn equipment, Eddie headed back into the house to confront Janet.


When Eddie walked through the back door, he could see that he wasn't the only one who'd been busy working over the past few hours. He could smell Janet's favorite cleaning product in the air, and he could see that everything in the kitchen had been scrubbed thoroughly, floor to ceiling. He knew Janet's routine pretty well, the one she usually did Saturday morning, which meant that she'd already stripped the bed, done a load or two of wash, cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed. Floor scrubbing came late in the game, so he was sure that, at this point, the house had passed Janet's rigorous inspection.

She must be done by now which made him wonder about what she was up to now.

He pushed through the kitchen door and that's when he spied her, laying asleep on the couch looking like an absolute angel. He could hear the low murmur of the TV. Moving closer, he momentarily watched Janet as she slept and he quickly noticed that her eyes were puffy from crying. The concept of Janet in pain tore at his heart. The anger that he had been feeling disappeared in an instant as the sharp pang of guilt moved in and took its place. He wanted to wake her up, to talk with her, but knowing that she'd had a rough night, he decided not to interrupt her peaceful sleep.

Having just worked his tail off outside, Eddie went to the bedroom, gathered some fresh clothes and headed towards the bathroom to take a quick shower. When he finished, Janet was still napping, so he went to the desk and wrote Janet a quick note. Just as he was about to leave the note on the coffee table in front of her, his attention was drawn to the television. Janet had been watching an old black and white movie that even had Eddie recognized fairly quickly, "It's a Wonderful Life." He remembered back to Christmas time last year when Janet made him sit and watch this movie with her. He also recalled that the only other time that he'd seen the movie was when he was a kid and his mother, like Janet, had forced it upon him. He had never admitted to either of them that, in truth, he actually didn't think the movie was half bad.

Eddie crouched down in front of the TV, about to turn it off; when he realized that the movie was 'looping' back over the same scene – as she must have set the DVD to do: The setting is a quiet, dark bedroom and the wife is asleep as the husband walks in. The wife wakes up and tells the husband that she wants her baby to look like him, and he realizes that she is pregnant... that 'George Bailey lassoes stork'. After watching the scene loop through again Eddie finally understood. The husband's reaction – shock, yes, but excitement too. That's what Janet was looking for from him.

Eddie shut off the TV, placed the note on the coffee table, and looked back with conflict still in his eyes at a still sleeping Janet, as he grabbed his keys and left the house.


Janet woke to sound of the closing door. How long had she been napping she wondered as she tried to shake off the sleep. She noticed immediately that the TV was turned off – even though she could see from the lights on the DVD player that it was still on. Then she noticed the note. Short, simple and to the point: "Janet, be back in a bit, Love, Eddie."

"Will you?" Janet said quietly under her breath as a tear escaped from her left eye. She grabbed the clicker and turned the TV on. She re-watched the looping scene – one more time – and then decided to watch the rest of the movie.


"Hey Connor, Caitlin, what goes on?" Eddie warmly greeted Owen's kids.

"Hi Uncle Eddie," Connor said, with Kaitlin standing beside him as shy as usual. Eddie smiled at both of them.

"Is he here?" Eddie asked in the uninterested tone he usually used with Allison, who Eddie had never quite warmed up to. She still wasn't one of his favorite people.

"Yep. They're in there." Allison said, with a slightly chilly tone, as she pointed to the dining room.

"They?" Eddie asked, noting that both kids were but Allison was already walking out the door with the two kids, obviously heading to a soccer practice for Connor.

Eddie walked into the dining room at the Owen's house and was surprised that Nicky had beaten him there. Owen was sitting at the head of the dining room table, Nick to his left and they were both sipping coffee. They seemed engrossed in a conversation and Nick seemed… what? Upset? Angry?

"What goes on boys?" Eddie asked and then added, pointing his thumb back towards the door, "If you're in the middle of something, I can go…"

Owen looked at Nick for the answer – so Eddie was right, something was going on with Nicky.

"No, Eddie, stay. I'd like to get your opinion too. Did Janet tell you what goes on with Hannah and me? I'm guessing she knows." Nick said with an edge, and Eddie recoiled a bit at the tone in which Nick used Janet's name.

"I have no idea what you're talking about Nicky," Eddie said as he took a seat beside Owen, across from Nick.

Nick looked at Owen, and Owen began to tell the story, "Nick might be Sam's dad after all, Eddie. He just found out yesterday."

Eddie just sat back stunned. Not at the idea that Nick might be Sam's dad, because he'd had that feeling the whole time, but he was stunned at the fact that Hannah had finally told him.

"Might be?" Eddie asked, confused, looking at both Nick and Owen.

"Two other possibilities," Nick said, gritting his teeth, and then looked to Eddie, and painfully asked, "Please tell me you're not one of them."

Eddie leaned back in his chair. He knew he wasn't one of them. Hannah had already been pregnant, about 6 weeks along, when they'd had their tryst. He responded honestly, "No man, I'm not one of them."

Owen smiled widely. Nick leaned back in his chair and exhaled loudly, "Whew. I knew, no matter how mad at me you were, man, that you wouldn't betray our friendship, Eddie."

Eddie suddenly felt a knot in his stomach. If Hannah had let him spill this a year ago, before he and Janet were a couple, while he still held his grudge against Nick, this would be out in the open and Eddie wouldn't be adding salt to an already gaping wound. Eddie looked like he was going to be ill.

"I wouldn't say that, Nick. I wanted to tell you something last year when you came back – after we got back from NYC. I begged Hannah to tell you, or let me tell you, what went on that summer."

Owen and Nick both looked to Eddie, he could tell they were both already dreading whatever it was that he was about to say.

"I hate to admit this to you, pal, to either of you… Hell, Nicky... I slept with Hannah that summer. Late in the summer, just about the point when I finally admitted to myself that you really weren't coming back. She was having a bad day, I was having a bad day, we ran into each other and … It was just that one time… we both regretted it immediately, I swear it. And after… that's when she told me the reason she was upset - she was having a fight with her mother over the pregnancy."

Eddie stopped for a second and then continued, "I told her she needed to get in touch with you – and she told me there was no need… you weren't the dad. She said that she knew for certain that the guy… Goddard… was the father. She's stuck to that story ever since."

Owen looked surprised, but awed, by the whole thing. Nick looked… pissed.

"Are you serious, Eddie? You slept with my girl?" Nick replied, roughly pushing the chair back and standing up from the table.

"Nick, I'm not making excuses here, but 'your girl?' She wasn't your girl. Not anymore. You'd given up that right when you didn't come back. Besides, it's not like I hopped in the sack with her the second you left on your little adventure. It was six weeks later…" Eddie tried to explain.

"Oh, and that makes it all right? You were my best friend! Damn it." Nick hissed at Eddie as he quickly made his way out the front door.

He and Owen heard Nick's car start and then the squeal of his tires as he sped down the street.

Owen spoke first, "You think he's going to be okay?"

"I really hope so," Eddie said before asking, "Do you want me to leave, O?"

"Why would I want you do that, buddy?" Owen asked, and then added, "Know what? It's a little early, but since Allison's out for a while, why don't I get us a couple of Paul Revere beers and let's go talk on the back deck."

Eddie just smiled and followed Owen to the kitchen and, after Owen pulled the beer from the fridge, they headed out to sit on the deck.

Eddie was really relieved that Owen didn't seem upset with him for what he had just admitted, what had he never told his good friend in the twelve years that had gone by since, not during any of their male bonding fishing expeditions and not on any of their drinking escapades. Eddie had kept this secret close to the vest. The only person he had told was Janet, because he absolutely needed her to know what had gone down between him and Hannah before he allowed himself to really get close to her.

"Holy Moly, Eddie, that was some bomb you just dropped," Owen said as he sat down.

"Why aren't you creased?" Eddie said, taking a swig of beer, and looking to his old friend, "I slept with Nick's girl. That's gotta make me sound like a hypocrite when it comes to what Ikey did, what Janet did, and how I reacted."

"I wouldn't put it that way. It does make me wonder why you didn't have a little more compassion for them – not that I had any for Ikey. But, the way I figure, you were right. Nick had relinquished any claim on Hannah when he abandoned her. Besides, Hannah was hot… still is… can't say as I blame you. I would have slept with her if I thought I stood a chance."

"No, you wouldn't, O, you're way too loyal," Eddie laughed lightly, and he knew it was the truth.

"I suppose that's true. But, no one's more loyal that you, Big Ed. Way I figure it, you must have been hurting pretty badly to do what you did. You were a mess that summer Eddie. Nicky left you. Rory left you. Your family had left you two years earlier. You deserve a pass for this one – and Nick is going to figure that out soon." Owen reached over and tapped his beer bottle against Eddie's.

"Hope so, Big O. I really hope so." Eddie just looked out over O's back lawn, one that he had designed and maintained for years.

"I wonder…" Owen started.


"If you're not one of the other two possibilities, and I'm not one of them…. who is?" Owen asked.

"Don't think I wanna know... I just hope it turns out to be Nicky. I've always thought Sam was his kid…" Eddie admitted.

"Me too, buddy, me too. So, what goes on with you Eddie? What brought you here today? Ryan doing okay?" Owen asked, sensing that more was going on with Eddie.

"Yeah, yeah….Ryan's going into rehab today, so I think that's going to be okay… but … just between you and me, Janet would kill me if I told anyone else…." Eddie began.

"You two kids doing alright? Don't mess this up, Eddie. You two are good together," Owen chastised.

"Janet told me something today... and I didn't react… the way she wanted me too… and now? I don't know how to fix it." Eddie tried to explain.

"She isn't pregnant, is she?" Owen inquired off -handedly.

"How'd you know?" Eddie asked, confusion on his face.

"She is? She's pregnant? Sweet!" Owen smiled, "This is great news, Ed, and you're going to be a great dad! I'm happy for you, man."

Eddie didn't say a word; he just looked down, feeling guilty that his friend's reaction was so much better than his own.

"What'd you do, Eddie? What was your reaction?" Owen asked with concern.

Eddie recounted how it all happened...


"And I just left her… alone... napping on the couch," Eddie admitted after telling Owen the story.

Owen just sat back, mouth agape, piecing it all together, "So… what's the deal? Do you want to have a kid with Janet or not?"

"Well, yeah, at some point. Janet's the only girl I've ever thought about marrying, having kids with, just hadn't planned on it being... now." Eddie admitted, only briefly glancing over at Owen. Owen thought it through for a second.

Owen shook his head and tried to think of a way to help.

"Okay... So how about this? What if I told you that I could snap my fingers and this would all be a dream. That you'd find out that she wasn't ever pregnant after all?"

Eddie was surprised by the drop he felt in his heart and the ringing disappointment he felt. He knew that is was reverse psychology that Owen was using on him - but it was working.

"O..." Eddie began... as he began to get a hold of his feelings... and then it occurred to him... Owen Rowan was a genius.

Eddie sprang to his feet and deposited what was left of his beer on the table.

"I was... an ass." Eddie admitted.

"You just might have been, Eddie." Owen affirmed.

"I gotta go fix this. I'll call ya later, O," Owen heard Eddie say even as he was jogging around the side of the house, out towards the driveway.

He heard the roar of Eddie's truck engine and the squeal of his tires as he sped down the street.

Owen just leaned back and let out a belly laugh, "Go get her, Latekka."


Eddie made a couple of stops on the way home, and when he got there he was glad to see that Janet's jeep was still parked in the driveway. He walked through the living room, but could hear the sound of music coming from the bedroom. Janet had her iPod in the player by the bed, and was singing along to the music as she finished making the bed. She was singing along to the Beatles, "All you need is love" and he wished other people could hear how good Janet sounded when she sang. He didn't hear it often enough himself.

After watching her for a few minutes, he decided to help her put the pillows back on the bed. Janet was startled when he walked in the room.

"Hey," Eddie said as he began picking up pillows and, being well trained at this point, putting them exactly where they belonged on the bed.

"Hey," Janet replied, as she moved each pillow by a fraction of an inch to get them exactly where she wanted them to be.

"Can I talk to you for a minute?" Eddie asked hopefully.

"Sure, just let me finish up here. I'll just be a second," she replied with a slight smile, and Eddie was relieved that she seemed less angry than she had been last night.

When Janet came out to the living room Eddie was sitting on the couch, intently looking at whatever was in front of him on the coffee table.

"What goes on, Eddie?" Janet asked as she sat down next to him on the couch. It was then that she saw what he had done. Eddie had brought back paint swatches in 'baby colors' and home décor magazines. He also reached under the coffee table and brought out something just for her, her favorite pink roses.

Janet took the flowers and inhaled their beautiful scent. She mouthed, 'Thank you,' to him as she placed the flowers on the table.

"I'm sorry, Janet," Eddie began, "I love you. I was just … surprised. I know it's no excuse, but…"

"No, Eddie, don't say that. I didn't even give you a second to adapt. You had every right to react the way you did. I get that now." Janet leaned in towards Eddie, and he immediately threw his arm around her shoulders as she sank into the side of his body.

"I gotta tell you, Janet, I'm really getting used to the idea of us having this baby," Eddie said with happiness in his voice. Janet's heart filled up with joy.

"Really?" Janet asked as she picked up a few of the paint swatches, "But, it's a little too early to start talking nursery, don't you think?"

"Maybe. But what about wedding?" Eddie asked, pulling himself away from Janet, and slipping to the floor on one knee, "I know I don't have a ring, or a hell of a lot else to offer you. But I love you and I want to marry you Janet. Will you be my wife?"

Janet looked to Eddie, happy that he seemed … happy. She reached towards him and grabbed his hands, pulling him back to her on the couch.

"Why are you asking me to marry you, Eddie?" Janet asked, no hurt in her eyes, she was just seeking the truth.

After giving it a second, Eddie looked up and then he locked eyes with the woman he loved more than he loved himself.

"Janet, you are… the only girl I've ever even thought about marrying. I've known, for a while now, that I was going to ask you at some point. But right now? I can't for the life of me figure out what I was waiting for. Besides, with you it's always been… different. I've always wanted to be … better with you. I always wanted you to feel like you were more important to me than any of the girls I'd been with before. That's a big part of why it took me so damned long to have sex with you that first time."

Janet didn't say a word, but her eyes filled up a bit. Eddie took a deep breath and went on, "I guess, in a way, what we have is, kind of, old fashioned. I want to do everything right by you. Everything. And, I can't imagine you having my baby – but not my last name. And, I do want have babies with you. I want to get old with you. So, what do you say? Are you going to marry me or not?"

Eddie sat back, his hands still on Janet's, waiting for the answer. He'd left himself wide open in a way he had never done with anyone before.

"I'm not saying no, Eddie," Janet began.

"Janet..." Eddie's heart dropped a bit.

"Eddie, I want you to do something for me."

"What?" Eddie asked, wondering where she was going with this.

"Ask me again."

"Excuse me…" Eddie stumbled across his words.

"Wait a month, get used to the idea of this baby, and then ask me again. I want to marry you, Eddie. But I don't want you to make a rash decision because you knocked me up."

"I didn't 'knock you up' Janet." Eddie corrected, "You're not some one night stand. You're the woman I love."

"Point taken. Just do this for me? Wait a month… And if you still feel the same way, I'll marry you on the spot."

"You mean that? In one month... if I ask you again... you'll marry me... on the spot?" Eddie asked, feeling suddenly happy with the way this was going.

"It's just an expression Eddie. But, yeah, of course I mean it…" Janet committed.

"Okay... I'm gonna hold you to it, Ms. Meadows..." Eddie said as he leaned in and began to kiss Janet. Just as things were getting interesting – the door bell rang.